A MUM who thought she just had a patch of eczema on her face was devastated to learn the truth months later.
Honoure Stark, 53, was diagnosed with skin cancer and has used chemotherapy cream on her face for 10 years.
The potent cream kills cancer cells but causes agonising side effects including inflammation, itching, weeping and scabbing.
Honoure has felt like an “acid attack victim” and says people run away from her thinking she has a contagious disease.
The mum, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, first noticed an “unusual spot” on her forehead that was scaly in texture back in 2008.
She said: "In the first few months that I saw it, I thought it was dry skin or eczema.
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“It didn't have a colour. It was an abnormally shaped round spot but it was flaky and if I exfoliated it bled.
"So I knew at that point after six or eight months that it wasn't just dry skin, it was something that I should have looked at by the doctor.”
Honoure admits she “didn't give it the attention it deserved” as with four small children running around, her focus was on caring for them.
But when her forehead became indented from where her flesh was slowly rotting away, she decided it was time to see a doctor.
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The mum said: “It was eating my skin and tissue and getting extremely close to the bone on my forehead and that scared me into seeing my doctor.
"I went into her office, I was quite nervous and didn't know anything about skin cancer.
"She immediately looked at my forehead and said 'you have cancer. We need to set up a date for surgery to remove that'.
“I was very put off by her lack of empathy and was quite upset. I started to cry.
"To be quite honest, I was so shocked by the diagnosis I really had a difficult time retaining anything past her pointing at my forehead saying I had cancer."
Honoure was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, in 2009.
She had seven surgeries to remove the “enormous” lesion on her forehead.
But her ordeal didn’t stop there, as over the past 12 years, Honoure has had around 30 surgeries to remove “countless” lesions.
She said the cancer has appeared “all over her body” – including her neck, arm and chest.
One of the most agonising parts of her treatment is a topical chemotherapy cream, which she has been using since 2012.
Honoure says its akin to “pouring acid” on her skin, and she must leave the cream on for a minimum of six hours a day.
Photos show her fair skin "bubbling up" before it's covered in red scabs as a result of using the chemotherapy cream.
She said: "It looks like I've had an acid attack. It makes my skin look like I've had a very bad accident.
"It makes the skin very hot and incredibly itchy. It's like you have red, burning ants running on your skin and you mustn't touch or scratch it.
"I have had people walk away from me. People would point at me and just not understand if I had a disease that was contagious.
"People would stare and make comments like 'oh my God, what happened to her face?'.”
Honoure has had to come to terms with the fact her life will never be the same since her diagnosis.
She said can never again be exposed to direct sunlight, and has to stay indoors between 10am to 4pm.
"I have the skin of a 70 or 80-year-old woman," Honoure said.
"I'm highly susceptible to melanoma, all of the other skin cancers, not just because I'm a redhead – that's one factor – but also because I never protected my skin.
"I put sunscreen on my children. However, I didn't wear sunscreen at all. It wasn't something that I thought about every morning before I went outside.
"I didn't wear a hat or stand under an umbrella, and that's exactly why I have this much cancer.
"I will have this for the rest of my life and I find that very daunting."
Honoure regularly shares informative TikTok videos about skin cancer and has amassed more than 240,000 likes and followers by doing so.
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She said: "I want people to understand that small behaviours that they can incorporate into their routine can stop this from happening.
"So you wear a hat, I see babies outside in the bright sun without a hat on and I think to myself 'that frightens me', because of what their future may look like.”
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